Customer Retention Strategies for an Online World

Jenna Trott

5 min read | July 21, 2022

Customer Retention Strategies for an Online World

You work hard every day to deliver quality products and services to customers, but your work is far from over. American industrialist and entrepreneur, Henry Ford, understood the importance of customer loyalty long ago, stating that “a manufacturer is not through with his customer when a sale is completed. He has then only started with his customer.” However, our world has changed quite a bit since Henry Ford’s time. In fact, in 2021, smartphones accounted for almost 70% of all retail website visits worldwide and e-commerce sales amounted to approximately 4.9 trillion U.S. dollars worldwide. So with the world moving more toward online channels of e-commerce and further away from traditional methods, how can sales reps ensure that they’re continuing to meet and exceed customer expectations in an ever changing digital-age?

The Problem With Online Customer Service

To better understand how companies can meet the needs of their customers, we must first look to where the deficiencies lay. In a recent study, it was determined that 75% of companies believe they are effectively meeting their customer’s needs, when in reality, only 30% of customers actually agree. In fact, retaining customers is among the greatest challenges for online retailers.

The question is, why?

Studies report that actions such as receiving irrelevant offers, waiting on hold, and impersonal interactions can be alienating and ultimately damage relationships with even the most loyal customers. More so than ever before, customers want companies to be transparent but to also treat them as more than just a sale or number. 74% of customers agree that honest and truthful interactions aid in their decision to return to a company. So, how can companies achieve honesty and transparency to increase customer retention? Keep reading to find out.

Centralize Data

It’s well known how critical the right information is at the right time. Particularly when you’re on a make or break sales call but are missing vital details about your client. By centralizing all client data into one location, it creates a single source of truth for reps to access the most vital information when it’s needed most. 68% of sales reps’ time is spent…well, not selling. Instead they’re searching for documents, accurate data and prospective leads. Easy access to pull and update information from anywhere enables reps to have the right information in hand when they hop on a call. This in turn becomes one of the first critical steps toward building a more authentic relationship with clients.

Salesforce solutions that can help: 

Leverage Technology

Within the last few years alone, the advancements in technology have been unprecedented and if it’s available, there’s no reason not to utilize it. It can mean the difference between thousands of hours saved not monitoring, updating or following up on information and leads. Tools like AI, Automation and Predictive Analytics can have transformative effects on your business. Automation alone can save employees up to 109 billion hours every month to automate manual work processes. That’s 109 billion more hours reps can spend meeting clients needs.

AI

AI, artificial intelligence, often gets a bad rep for being deeply impersonal, that bots are incapable of delivering the same amount of personal attention to customers that people do. Yet, in a recent study that surveyed more than 6,000 consumers, it was found that 34% of people thought they had interacted with AI when the truth is that 84% actually had but didn’t know it. Artificial intelligence has become so robust thanks to predictive personalization that it can make a customer feel as though an interaction was tailored specifically for them. Further, it can help to predict additional items a customer may be interested in or automatically send alerts when it’s time to reorder.

Other Benefits of AI:

  • 81% of employees believe that AI improves their overall performance at work
  • 89% of employees believe that AI could help support them in up to half of their workload
  • 61% of employees say that AI improves their day to day productivity
  • 43% of employees have a better understanding of data patterns thanks to AI

      Source.

Salesforce solutions that can help: 

Einstein AI: Say hello to Einstein, the only comprehensive AI for CRM. Einstein isn’t your traditional AI, it’s intelligent and is designed to help your business innovate and automate with ease.

Click here to learn more.

Automation

From cutting costs to boosting productivity and increasing agent efficiency, automation offers a whole host of benefits for companies. But how can it be utilized for customer service specifically? The most successful sales people understand that their customers want to receive the right message at the right time. There are many ways automation can help achieve this. For example: email scheduling can assist in strategic messaging, so your prospects are getting an email at a time they’re most likely to open them. Once that message has been sent, you can automate reminders to ensure no customer is left neglected for prolonged periods of time, helping to strengthen client relationships. If you’re tired of multi-user, multi-step customer service workflows, it’s likely that your clients are tired too. 

Other Benefits of Automation:

  • 83% of customers expect to interact with someone immediately when they contact a company, automation makes that possible 
  • Improve lead-to-sales ratios by keeping sales reps accountable and prospects engaged (source).
  • Automating repetitive, manual tasks provides a smooth and simple journey that meets each customer’s needs (source).
  • Automation helps resolve customer issues faster thanks to workflows and collaboration tools (source).

Salesforce solutions that can help: 

Salesforce Platform: Automate repetitive business tasks to remove process friction and create seamless work experiences for your team. Next-gen digital transformation gives your company access to the information they need most, no matter where in the world they work.

Click here to learn more.

Still need help automating your work processes? We can help! Click here for more information. 

Predictive Analytics

Power customer interactions with predictive analytics. By using data, machine learning, and statistical algorithms, users can identify the likelihood of future outcomes based on historical data. In a nutshell, it helps to take the guesswork out of what could happen to know future events concretely. This is especially important for customer service because it helps to uncover patterns in the customer experience, offering critical insight into individual customer satisfaction and value outcomes like: revenue, loyalty, and cost to serve. 

Other Benefits of Predictive Analytics:

  • Provides an accurate and quantified view of factors that can help or hurt customer experience 
  • Helps to identify and prioritize customers whose relationships are at risk and determine the cause
  • Reduce company costs by decreasing the frequency that customers must rely on other channels
  • Improve data quality and availability to create a more complete picture of customers

     Source.

Salesforce solutions that can help: 

CRM Analytics: Unleash the full power of your Salesforce data with CRM Analytics. Infuse

highly intelligent and predictive analytics into every client interaction to not only provide your whole team with a clearer picture of data, but to curate more profound customer relationships.

Click here to learn more.

Personalize the Customer Experience

There is no one size fits all solution when it comes to interacting with clients – nor should there be! As more of our face-to-face interactions become digital, people can forget there’s a living, breathing person on the other side of the computer screen. One with unique problems that require unique solutions. In Salesforce’s annual State of the Connected Customer report, nearly 17,000 global customers were surveyed and it was determined that 91% of business buyers and 86% of consumers said the experience a company provides is as important as its products and services. To date, 56% of customers expect offers to always be personalized; this can be achieved by capturing more data to create a complete 360-degree view that seamlessly integrates across platforms. This single-source of truth allows you to have a better understanding of your customer’s pain points and suggest solutions curated specifically for them, hyper-personalizing the customer journey as they move seamlessly between service and sales.

Salesforce solutions that can help: 

Customer 360: Customer 360 connects your marketing, sales, commerce, service and IT teams with a single view of your customer data, helping you grow relationships with your customers and your employees..

Click here to learn more.

Simplify

As technology continues to advance and evolve, customer’s expectations continue to change along with it. Now, customers expect their experiences with a company to be as easy and engaging as they would be with Netflix, Amazon or Uber. While digitizing many aspects of the customer journey has streamlined the process, it can also frustrate the customer due to long page load times, complicated checkout processes and unnecessary account creations. What customers crave is consistency. In fact, 73% say they’re likely to switch brands if a company is unable to provide consistent levels of service across channels. As a whole, Salesforce prides itself on ease of access and simplicity. Low to no code technology connects your sales, service, marketing, commerce, and IT teams with a single, shared view of customer information. In turn, your team will be able to better anticipate the needs of your customer, and thus, simplify their experience with you. 

So with the world moving more toward online channels of e-commerce and further away from traditional methods, it’s more important than ever for companies to focus on how to break down the four walls of a computer screen to make the customer feel less like a number and more like the individual person they are. Using technology to do so may seem hypocritical, but by utilizing things like automation and AI, it can actually help to free up time for your employees so they’re spending less time with repetitive tasks and more time with the client.

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